Premier League round-up: High five for both at the Hawthorns whilst Arsenal sneak fourth place
Sir Alex Ferguson’s final ever game in charge of Manchester United ended remarkably. For the very first time in Premier League history, West Brom and Manchester United played out a 5-5 draw. Arsenal was able to pip Tottenham Hotspur to fourth place after victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Following a fitting tribute last week at Old Trafford, Fergie’s newly crowned champion let slip a 5-2 lead at the Hawthorns as the Baggies came back to draw 5-5. It was the first time ever in the Premier League that this result had occurred, and it came on a day when the most celebrated manager in British history bowed out.
United raced into a three-goal lead, thanks to strikes from Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner and an own goal from Jonas Olsson. James Morrison pulled a goal back just before half time as the champions looked comfortable in Ferguson’s last game.
West Brom introduced Romelu Lukaku at the start of the second half and within five minutes, the Belgian had reduced the deficit to one. The ever-impressive Robin Van Persie restored the Red Devil’s two-goal advantage with a close-range finish.
Javier Hernandez made it 5-2 just after the hour mark and it seemed like there would be no way back for West Brom. Cue a crazy five minutes, in which West Brom scored three times.
Goals from Yussouf Mulumbu and a brace from Romelu Lukaku – that sealed his hat-trick – ensured that Fergie’s final bow ended in surreal fashion.
Arsenal knew that victory against Newcastle United would guarantee them Champions League football next season. Waiting for the Gunners to slip up was Tottenham Hotspur, who had to better the result of Arsene Wenger’s side to sneak in to fourth place.
A single goal was enough for Arsenal to claim all three points at St James’ Park. French defender Laurent Koscielny was able to pick his spot, as an outstretched toe poke evaded Steve Harper in the Newcastle goal. The Magpies gave as spirited a performance as they got, but looked to be lacking in quality as their season ended on a low point.
Counterparts, Spurs, were also victorious in their final game of the season. Another solo effort from Gareth Bale helped overcome ten-man Sunderland, but missed out on fourth place thanks to Arsenal’s victory over Newcastle United.
Scenes of disbelief at White Hart Lane were a stark contrast to events in the North East. As the final whistle blew, the Arsenal squad made a collective run to the goal-line to celebrate their achievement in style.
Arsene Wenger has now achieved 16 consecutive Champions League qualifications, capping off yet another fine finish to the season from one of the game’s most respected figures.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent